Donald Penn

Notable 2018 Pro Bowl Incentives/Escalators

The NFL announced the 2018 Pro Bowl rosters earlier tonight, and aside from determining which players will spend a week in Orlando early next year, the rosters also dictate several important bonuses and/or contract escalators for individual players. Former NFL agent and current CBSSports.com contributor Joel Corry has rounded up the notable incentives earned tonight, and we’ll pass those along below. As Corry notes (Twitter link), only first ballot Pro Bowlers who actually participate in the game (unless injured or playing in the Super Bowl) are in bonuses, which are typically paid out by the end of March.

Here are the notable Pro Bowl bonuses and escalators that were preliminarily netted this evening (all links to Corry’s Twitter):

Bonuses

  • Ravens S Eric Weddle, $1MM; requires Baltimore in playoffs (link): Still playing like one of the league’s best coverage safeties at the age of 32, Weddle needs the Ravens to land one of the AFC Wild Card slots in order to earn his incentive. Baltimore appears to on course to do just that, as FiveThirtyEight gives the club an 87% of earning a postseason berth. That playoff appearance will be largely due to the Ravens’ defense, which ranks second only to Jacksonville in DVOA.
  • Bills S Micah Hyde, $400K (link): Sean McDermott can coach defensive backs. After spending years finding gems at safety for the Eagles and Panthers, the Bills head coach has helped Hyde transform into a top-notch DB. Hyde, who inked a five-year, $30.5MM contract with Buffalo in the spring, ranked a respectable 53rd in Pro Football Focus‘ safety grades a year ago. This season? He’s ninth.
  • Raiders G Kelechi Osemele, $300K (link): Under general manager Reggie McKenzie, the Raiders have employed what is often referred to as an “all cash” salary cap management system, wherein prorated signing bonuses are rarely used while base salary guarantees, roster bonuses, and — as evidenced by the number of Oakland players on this list — incentive clauses are heavily employed. Osemele, the league’s highest-paid interior offensive lineman, is signed through 2020 with cap charges north of $10MM in each season.
  • Rams K Greg Zuerlein, $250K (link): While the Los Angeles offense garners the most headlines, the club’s special teams unit has maintained its dominance under coordinator John Fassel, who briefly took over as the Rams’ interim head coach in 2016. Fassel, Zuerlein, & Co. have managed a No. 2 ranking in special teams DVOA, while Zuerlein himself has been worth 15.1 points of field position (second in the NFL).
  • Raiders T Donald Penn, $200K (link): Penn’s summer holdout lead to extra guarantees in the future, but didn’t end with a change to his 2017 salary, meaning this bonus part of his original deal. The 34-year-old Penn is currently on injured reserve, and will miss his first game since 2007 on Sunday. Still, his renegotiated contract now contains a $3MM guarantee for 2018, meaning he’s likely part of the Raiders’ plans.
  • Patriots ST Matthew Slater, $150K (link): Slater has now earned a Pro Bowl berth in every season since 2011. At some point, it’s fair to wonder if Slater is skating by on reputation, as he played only a quarter of the Patriots’ special teams snaps this year. Slater missed more special teams tackles than he made prior to his 2016 berth, tweets Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus.
  • Raiders C Rodney Hudson, $100K (link): For all of Oakland’s problems this season, the Raiders have continued to boast some of the NFL’s best pass-blocking offensive lineman. Hudson is the best pass-blocking center in the league by a wide margin, meaning he’s eminently affordable at $8.9MM annually.

Escalators

  • Lions CB Darius Slay, $550K base salary increase in 2018 (link): As Corry reports, Slay had three ways to earn this heft escalator — post five or more interceptions (he sits at seven), play on 80% or more of Detroit’s defensive snaps (he’s at 97.6%), or earn a Pro Bowl berth. Slay managed all three in what has become the best season of an increasingly impressive five-year career.
  • Eagles T Lane Johnson, $250K base salary increase each season from 2018-21 (link): Depending on Jason Peters‘ health and the Eagles’ plans, Johnson could very well be playing left tackle as soon as 2018. Even with his base salary set to increase, Johnson won’t have a cap charge north of $13.5MM over the life of his contract.
  • Eagles G Brandon Brooks, $250K base salary increase each season from 2018-20 (link): General manager Howie Roseman zeroed in on Brooks at the outset of the 2016 free agent period, and the 28-year-old has quickly proved to be one of the best free agent signings in recent memory. Brooks will earn an $8.5MM base salary — the largest during his five-year deal — in 2018.
  • Eagles TE Zach Ertz, $250K base salary increase from 2019-21 (link): Per Corry, Ertz also picked up a $100K bonus for 2017. Ertz has already set a career-high in touchdowns (eight) and has a shot to set new marks in receptions and yards even though he missed two games with injury. A former second-round pick, Ertz ranks among the top-five tight ends in catches, yards, and scores.

Raiders’ Donald Penn Done For Season

Raiders left tackle Donald Penn will have season-ending foot surgery on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. The Raiders will place Penn on injured reserve, ruling him out for the final two games of the season. Donald Penn

The injury means that Penn will miss his first game since 2007. Although things did not work out as planned for the 6-8 Raiders this year, it was a decent season for Penn on a personal level. He currently ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 23 ranked tackle, placing him ahead of guys like Russell Okung and Alejandro Villanueva. Last year, he finished No. 12 amongst all tackles in the NFL, per PFF.

Penn had some offseason contract drama with the Raiders, but the two sides smoothed things out in time for the start of the season. In September, they agreed to a two-year, $21MM extension that could keep him in place through 2019. The new deal calls for a $8.35MM cap number in 2018 ($3MM guarantee) and a $10.35MM cap figure in ’19 (non-guaranteed).

The Raiders fell to 6-8 with their loss to Dallas on Sunday. They can still finish with a .500 record if they are able to beat the Eagles and Chargers in their final two games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Rams, Shanahan, Raiders

In January, the Rams had planned to interview Kyle Shanahan for their coaching vacancy, but a snowstorm on the East Coast put the powwow on hold, as Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com writes. Days later, the team 86’d the meeting altogether as they pivoted eventual hire Sean McVay.

They told me if I didn’t sit down, they might end up having to move on,” Shanahan said, “and I was definitely OK with that. I think it worked out for both parties.”

On Thursday night, the Rams will get a glimpse at what might have been when they take on San Francisco at Levi’s Stadium. Of course, the Rams are very high on McVay – who is the league’s youngest coach – so they have no cause for regret at this time.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Donald Penn’s new two-year, $21MM extension with the Raiders will not give him a raise from the $6.4MM he was due in 2017, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. However, he did get a $3MM guarantee in 2018 in exchange for signing on for two more years. In 2019, he’s slated to earn a non-guaranteed $6MM, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets. As previously reported, he could get guarantees that extend into the 2019 season based on how well he plays in 2017.
  • Based on his history, it’s likely that Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will look to move the offense quicker with more of a dink-and-dunk approach, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com opines (Twitter link). It remains to be seen what the running back rotation will be like. To date, Joe Mixon and Jeremy Hill have not had a lot of carries while Giovani Bernard has drawn the lion’s share of the work. That could change now that Ken Zampese is out and Lazor is calling the plays.
  • On Tuesday, the Panthers, Bears, Cowboys, Packers, Jaguars, Chiefs, Dolphins, Jets, 49ers, and Bucs all conducted workouts. 

Extra Points: Vikes, Bolts, Raiders, Lions

Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford is dealing with “swelling, pain and discomfort” in his left knee, Chris Mortenson of ESPN reports. Notably, that’s the same knee in which Bradford underwent procedures to repair a torn ACL in 2013 and ’14. Thanks to his latest knee issue, Bradford’s not a lock to play Sunday against in Pittsburgh, though the Vikings are “cautiously optimistic” he will, per Mortenson. At the same time, the Vikes do have some reservations about the injury, Mortenson notes. In the unlikely event Bradford doesn’t suit up, the Vikings’ offense would presumably experience a marked drop-off after handling the Saints on Monday. Bradford was the driving force behind that 29-19 win, going 27 of 32 for 346 yards and three touchdowns. His backup is Case Keenum, who struggled mightily with the Rams last season.

Elsewhere around the NFL…

  • Speaking of left knee troubles, Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett is experiencing soreness there after an ACL tear limited him to four games last season. He’ll miss Sunday’s game against Miami as a result and could sit out “several” more weeks, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Verrett played nearly all of the Chargers’ defensive snaps (63 of 69) in their loss to Denver on Monday, but head coach Anthony Lynn held him out of practice Friday and stated that the corner is “just not right.” Lynn added that he has “no idea” how long Verrett will be on the shelf, only revealing that the player is “week-to-week.” Verrett, 26, is less than a year removed from the knee surgery he underwent last October.
  • Left tackle Donald Penn expected the two-year deal he signed with the Raiders in 2016 t0 be his last contract, according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. Penn didn’t show signs of slowing down last season, though, leading him to shelve any thoughts of retirement. He’s now under Raiders control through 2018 after inking an extension Friday. The 34-year-old believes the new pact will ensure that he’ll retire a Raider, which would be a “childhood dream,” as he told Bair and other reporters. Penn, who held out over the summer, noted that he wasn’t optimistic an agreement would come. “There was a lot of doubt (about getting a new deal),” he said. “I didn’t want to hit free agency again. I told them, ‘You know how much I love you guys. Show me how much you guys love me back, and let’s get this done so I can retire a Raider.’
  • Lions second-round pick Teez Tabor was a healthy scratch in Week 1 and, given the team’s depth at cornerback, probably won’t be a factor for a while, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com writes. But head coach Jim Caldwell still thinks the ex-Florida Gator could pay short-term dividends. “That probably would not be an accurate statement in terms of a ‘long-term project,'” Caldwell said. “I’m not certain what that denotes, but that probably wouldn’t be how we would assess it.” Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is pleased with the progress Tabor has made in recent months. “He’s doing everything right and we’ll see him at some point,” Austin declared. “(He’s) much different than when he first got in here. I think he’s a really super smart player. Gets it, can get around the ball, again, just growing him right now.” Once considered a good bet to go in the first round this year, Tabor fell to the Lions at No. 53 after posting slow times in the 40-yard yard dash in the offseason.

Raiders, Donald Penn Agree To Extension

It’s a done deal. The Raiders and tackle Donald Penn have agreed to a two-year, $21MM extension, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweetsDonald Penn

The new deal will give him guarantees that go into the 2018 season. In addition to that, he could get guarantees in 2019 based on how well he plays this year.

Penn was a summer holdout, but he reported to the team near the end of August. The 34-year-old came back to the Raiders without the deal he wanted, but they took care of him roughly three weeks later. Initially, he was slated to earn a $5.8MM base salary for 2017 before reaching free agency.

Penn didn’t quite reach the top ten money he was seeking, but his new money average of $10.5MM isn’t far off from Andrew Whitworth‘s $11.25MM average annual value. His previous deal’s average annual value had him outside of the top 20 tackles in the NFL, so it’s a clear step up.

Over the last ten years, Penn has not missed a single regular season game. Last year, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 tackle in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders, Donald Penn Nearing Extension

The Raiders and left tackle Donald Penn are closing in on a two-year extension, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal should be completed by this week, he adds. Donald Penn

Penn held out from the Raiders for nearly a month before reporting towards the end of August. Penn was pushing for an increase over his $5.8MM base salary for 2017 and it appears that he’ll either get a bump for this year or a nice chunk of change starting in 2018.

Raiders brass told Penn that they would discuss an extension if he suited up for team activities. It seems the organization has kept its word.

We don’t talk contracts unless a guy is here,” said GM Reggie McKenzie over the summer.

Penn is 34, but he stands as one of the game’s best offensive tackles. He has been seeking top ten money and the new contract should at least put him close to that. His previous deal’s average annual value had him outside of the top 20 tackles in the NFL.

Over the last ten years, Penn has not missed a single regular season contest. Last year, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 tackle in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Donald Penn Ends Holdout

Raiders left tackle Donald Penn reported to practice Wednesday, bringing his holdout to an end after nearly a month away from the team. Penn sat out for all of training camp, which began July 28, and two of the Raiders’ preseason games. The Raiders could have fined him $40K for each day he was absent, but there’s no word on whether they did.

Donald Penn

Penn, who’s in his fourth year with the Raiders, held out in an effort to land a raise over the $5.8MM base salary he’s scheduled to earn this season. Although he’s one of the premier tackles in the NFL, Penn is just 21st among bookends in annual contract value, having inked a two-year, $14MM deal prior to the 2016 campaign. The 34-year-old is seeking top 10 money relative to his position, which would mean upward of $11.25MM per annum, but it doesn’t appear general manager Reggie McKenzie has agreed to give Penn any type of increase yet. Penn reported to practice in a good faith maneuver, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Regardless of whether the Raiders and Penn do find common ground in negotiations, it’s obvious his return is a boon to the Super Bowl hopefuls’ offensive line. The unit is among the best in the league, with fellow top-end starters Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson and Rodney Hudson joining Penn to protect Derek Carr and block for Marshawn Lynch. Penn arguably boasts the most impressive track record of any, having never missed a regular-season game in his 10-year career. Last year, his ninth straight 16-start campaign, Pro Football Focus ranked Penn as the game’s 12th-best tackle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders OT Donald Penn Expected To Report

Donald Penn is likely to end his holdout and report to the Raiders at some point this week, possibly as early as Tuesday, sources tell Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. Penn initiated his holdout in late July with the end goal of earning a top-ten left tackle salary.Donald Penn

Penn, 34, is scheduled to earn $5.8MM in 2017, and Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie indicated that the club wouldn’t renegotiate that figure unless Penn showed up for training camp. Even if Penn reports, the Raiders aren’t expected to rework his deal, per Tafur, although they could choose to guarantee his 2017 salary. That would mark an extremely minor concession on the part of Oakland, as Penn was clearly going to make the Week 1 roster and therefore see his salary guaranteed.

A remarkably durable player, Penn hasn’t missed a single game during his decade-long career. Last year, Penn ranked as the NFL’s No. 12 offensive tackle, according to Pro Football Focus, while playing nearly every offensive snap for the Raiders.

Oakland, of course, boasts one of the league’s best offensive lines, and has continually been willing to invest in its front five, handing large contracts to Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson, and Rodney Hudson. Last year, the unit ranked first in adjusted sack rate and 11th in adjusted line yards, per Football Outsiders.

Penn’s yearly contract value of $6.25MM ranks just 21st among NFL left tackles, as he’s sandwiched between the Cardinals’ Jared Veldheer (who’s being shifted to the right side) and former No. 2 draft pick Greg Robinson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Raiders, Garnett, Broncos

Donald Penn appears to be dug in on his holdout from Raiders camp. The Pro Bowl left tackle has scheduled some workouts in St. Louis with Hall of Fame tackle Orlando Pace, Steve Wyche of NFL.com reports, perhaps an indication Penn doesn’t expect to report to Napa, Calif., anytime soon. Penn spent recent time working out with another Rams Hall of Fame tackle in Jackie Slater but did so in southern California. The 34-year-old left tackle wants to be paid top-10 money at his position and has been absent from Raiders camp for over a week. Reggie McKenzie refused to address his left tackle’s contract publicly, but Oakland is now working with two new tackle starters — Marshall Newhouse and Vadal Alexander — after cutting Austin Howard and observing Penn hold out. The 11th-year player has never missed a regular-season game but will continue to push for more money. Penn signed a two-year, $14MM deal — one that will pay him $5.8MM in base salary this season — last year.

Here’s more from Oakland and other Western-division camps.

  • Malcolm Smith‘s pectoral injury dealt a significant blow to the 49ers defense, but their offense won’t have the services of Joshua Garnett for a while. The second-year guard is expected to miss a “period of time” because of a knee injury Kyle Shanahan said could require surgery. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports the 2016 first-round guard is not believed to have damaged his ACL, but his chances of competing for a starting job appear to be over during camp. Brandon Fusco and Zane Beadles are now working as San Francisco’s first-team guards. Shanahan described the uncertainty around Garnett by saying he “hoped” the interior lineman could help the team this season, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • Raiders backup safety Keith McGill suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot Saturday and will have surgery, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. McGill’s status for Week 1 is uncertain, but he will miss the rest of training camp, Gehlken writes. A former cornerback, McGill is entering his fourth season and is a consistent special teams presence for Oakland. He and Obi Melifonwu are expected to be the second-string safeties.
  • Broncos camp still has a ways to go, but Vance Joseph has identified his punt returner already. Five-foot-7 Isaiah McKenzie won the job, the first-year coach said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. Although Joseph views McKenzie as too small for kick-return responsibilities, the Broncos drafted him with a punt-return role in mind. They remain hopeful he can have an impact on offense as well. McKenzie returned five punts for touchdowns during three seasons at Georgia.
  • The Cardinals lost running back and return man T.J. Logan to a dislocated wrist. The rookie will be placed on IR.

Latest On Raiders’ Donald Penn

Raiders left tackle Donald Penn is holding out as he seeks a raise that would make him one of the NFL’s 10 highest-paid players at his position. Commenting on Penn’s status Tuesday, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie suggested to reporters that the lineman’s wish definitely won’t come true if he doesn’t report to training camp.

Donald Penn

“We don’t talk contracts unless a guy is here,” said McKenzie, via Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group.

Penn, 34, is halfway into the two-year, $14MM contract the Raiders gave the 6-foot-5, 305-pounder upon re-signing him in March 2016. With age serving as the only real check against Penn, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve more money. Few tackles are able to mix durability and excellence like Penn, who has never missed a regular-season game during his 10-year career and has typically earned high marks as a blocker. Penn posted his ninth straight 16-start campaign in 2016, when his performance graded 12th among 76 qualified tackles at Pro Football Focus.

To this point, the Raiders have not fined Penn any money for missing camp, according to McDonald. They’re allowed to dock him $40K per day as long as he holds out, and doing so could hasten Penn’s return. Still, that’s a relatively meager amount compared to Penn’s $5.8MM salary for 2017, and he’d nearly double that sum by breaking into the top 10 in pay among left tackles. At $11.25MM per year, the Rams’ Andrew Whitworth is 10th in annual value.

With Penn away, the Raiders have turned to Marshall Newhouse on the blindside and used Vadal Alexander at right tackle, and two rookies – fourth-round pick David Sharpe and seventh-rounder Jylan Ware – are in reserve. The only member of the group with substantial NFL experience is Newhouse, who joined the Raiders in free agency after combining for 86 appearances and 56 starts as a Packer, Bengal and Giant from 2011-16. Nobody would confuse him for Penn, though, given that Newhouse hasn’t played a 16-game season since 2012 and most recently ranked a below-average 50th among tackles at PFF last year. Alexander earned an even worse grade over nine games (five starts) and 305 snaps as a rookie in 2016.

Given that the Raiders’ outlook at tackle without Penn looks somewhat bleak, McKenzie unsurprisingly indicated that the Super Bowl hopefuls want him back.

“Donald’s my guy. Ever since he stepped in, after we lost (Jared Veldheer), I told him he’s my guy,” said McKenzie. “That’s not going to change. I’d love to have him, and if you guys go down to L.A. and drive him up I’d appreciate it. We want to focus on the young guys practicing now, get these guys some reps and we’re just going to keep moving. We’ve got to practice.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.